I was born in Michigan, raised in Ohio, but have lived in the south for 30 years now. I work full-time at an engineering and consultant firm where I support our GIS Department. I have tried many hobbies but writing children’s books has now become my full-time hobby. Hopefully when I retire, it will become my full-time job. I don’t have any children so I use my love for writing children’s stories as a way to reconnect with children. A lot of my inspiration for my stories comes from past memories as a child as well as stories that co-workers and friends tell me about their own children. Also, my love for dogs has given me lots of ideas since I’m always watching and playing with them. My dogs know my deepest darkest secrets so in return they promise to give me lots of inspiration!
2. Please describe yourself in a tweet:
Boring, wasteful, strong addiction to shopping for jewelry, clothes, house things, sassy, sarcastic, generous, loyal, loving, good listener, loud, observant of others but not places, organized, friendly but a loner somewhat, house decorator, animal lover, very timely, terrible at trivia, movie lover, honest, funny, stubborn, some musical ability, body timid, willingness to learn, creative, imaginative, team player, open.
3. What are you currently working on?
I am currently and always working on my next picture book. My brain is constantly brewing up new ideas. I have about 3 or 4 manuscripts out there just waiting on responses. I’m also working on learning how to write Early Readers or Chapter Books
4. What inspired you to start writing?
I needed a new focus on life. Something to do that I was passionate about. I can’t explain why but one day while I was reading my brother’s blog, he was just playing around and was writing a fantasy type story on his blog. He isn’t a professional writer. Anyway, I thought he had talent and thought to myself how fun it would be to write a children’s story. So I sat at my computer, started writing a story and haven’t stopped since. However, I am still working on that original story but have written probably 100 others since then!
5. Do you remember the very first story you ever wrote? What was it about?
The very first story I remember writing was when I was probably in the third grade. It was about a land made out of nothing but peanut butter! Remembering that story is actually how I started out writing my very first published children’s book The Pea In Peanut Butter. Guess I like peanut butter, huh!!??
6. What resource has been most influential in helping you become a published writer and why? How often do you refer back to it?
Probably the most useful and influential tool for me has been a chat type room that is available through the Institute of Children’s Literature. The information and resources available through that has been worth it’s weight in gold. I took a beginning class through the Institute and am now taking their advanced class and the knowledge I’ve gained from the class has been instrumental in helping me become published as well. Plus all the writing friends I’ve made have also been extremely helpful. I usually refer back to all or one of those things on a daily basis. There is a world of knowledge out there to help anyone who wants to become a published writer! You just have to be willing to do the work that it takes to find the information.
7. What is the thing you enjoy the most about writing.
Writing the actual story. I have to admit that sometimes I drive myself crazy trying to come up with ideas for a story, however once I do and put my fingers to work writing it, I just fly on cloud nine! I also love the editing phase of it. It’s amazing to me how just changing or deleting one word can make such an impact on the story.
8. What are you doing when you are not writing?
I’m usually brainstorming on an idea for my next story! Or I’m online researching or chatting with other writing pals. If I’m not doing anything writing wise, I’m living my real world at home or at my full-time job but wishing I were… shopping!
9. Who is your favorite author?
Well myself, of course!
Actually, I don’t have a favorite author. I like all types of books and authors.
10. What's next for you?
I’m in cahoots with an illustrator who was raised in the same, small farming community in Ohio as I was. He is an award winning illustrator and writer who has had a picture book published. We are hoping to come up with another PB that a publisher will like and then we can have a book written and illustrated by two people who represent our little town. Normally publishers don’t like us authors to send in manuscripts with an illustrator already in mind, but we are going to try our luck at it anyway!
A few fun questions that have nothing to do with writing:
1. Chocolate or Candy?
I love chocolate and I love candy so…both!
2. Summer or Winter?
No question about it, winter. Summers in the Louisiana heat are horrible to me. I’m a bit… weird in more ways than one, but where most people love the sunshine and heat on their skin, I don’t necessarily like it. Oh it’s ok once in awhile, maybe after a dip in the pool, but when it sun shines day after day after day, I get really depressed. I love the rain, the clouds, the thunderstorms. Maybe I should have been a weatherman because I love the changes in weather from day to day.
3. If you were trapped on a deserted island, what 3 things would you have to have with you to survive?
My laptop to write with
A dog to give me doggy kisses
Books, lots of books!
4. What is your absolutely favorite movie of all time?
I have three. A Star Is Born with Barbra Streisand, Overboard with Goldie Hawn and St. Elmo’s Fire because it brings back old memories of good times with certain friends.
5. What are your thoughts on ebooks vs. print books?
There is nothing like a real book in your hands. As far as picture books go, I don’t think an ebook can compare to a real book in the hands of a child. However, some of the things they are doing with ebooks and animation, would be really fun for a child. I definitely prefer a real book, however as an adult, ebooks would be fine too. And as an author, I dream of seeing a book of mine in hardback but in truth, I’ll be happy with any form of a book I write, as long as the child enjoys it!
6. What would you say is your best quality? Your worst?
I would say my best quality is my ability to laugh at most things and/or make others laugh. I’m also what I consider, a very generous person. I have to stop myself over and over from wanting to give too much to people.
My worst quality is probably that although I can laugh about most anything, I can also complain about it. I am never EVER 100% happy with anything. That drives me and probably those who know me well, nuts. I also have a tendency to expect too much from people. I expect others to treat me the way I treat them but that very seldom happens, at least from my view point. That probably goes back to my never being 100% satisfied with anything. I’m also VERY loud! I walk loud, I talk loud.
7. If you had to pick a favorite song right now, which would it be?
Well I can’t just pick one of those either! I love Titanic sung by Celine Dion. I love anything sung by Barbra Streisand and I love Carrie Underwoods “Before He Cheats.” (I just love singing that song!)
Now for the rules on how to win. No, you do not have to follow, but that would be nice if you decide you would like to. However you do have to comment and you need to comment the answer to any of the questions listed below about Allyn. Each correct answer will count as an entry. The person with the most correct answers will win an autographed copy of Allyn's Book: The Pea in the Peanut Butter. The second place winner will receive the goody bag. Should there be a tie for any reason, then I will have a random number seletor to choose the winners. Also, I'm sorry to announce, but only residents of the continental U.S.A. can win. Postage is a killer otherwise.
So what do you think? Sound like fun? Okay then, here are the questions:
1. Would Allyn prefer to live in Florida or Michigan?
2. Do you think Allyn contributes to the candy fund at work or does she have the actual candy bowl on her desk?
3. Do you think Allyn would prefer to meet Donald Trump, Rosanne, or Star Jones?
4. Would Allyn be better at Interior Design, Psychology, or a Movie critic?
5. If Allyn were given an opportunity to do one of the following, which would she turn down? 1) A chance to move anywhere in the United States 2) A photo shoot with Victoria Secret 3) A million dollars
Hop to it and get commenting. This contest runs through Sunday, August 21, 2011. You have until 11:59 p.m. EST to enter.